building an android app

Giant Google Android statue with puppy and cupcake
Giant Google Android statue with puppy and cupcake by ToastyKen, on Flickr

I decided to take the plunge and develop an Android app.  We’ve got a good idea for a game for all ages.  A really good idea.  I could have started on a iPhone/iPad app, but I am put off by Apple’s “curatorial” ways and can’t afford, as a small developer, to be denied or held back from developing my app.  That, and I don’t have an iPhone (yes I am the only media arts person in London without one, it seems).  I have a semi-ancient Google G1 running on T-Mobile, and I love it because it has a thumb keyboard and usually works well as a phone.

It also runs WikiNotes, where I keep all of my notes and diary.  WikiNotes is a free-form notepad-like tool (a wiki, like Wikipedia) that I can organize (or dis-organize) my thoughts and notes into.  It really needs an update and some more features, but even without things like undo and revisions it still beats the pants off anything else out there, as far as I’m concerned.

Moving on – developing Android on Eclipse is so easy to set up I thought something must have been missing.  Especially on OS X. Instructions are well-written and organized on the Android developer’s website.  You can also use Processing to develop to Android but my aging phone only runs Android OS 1.6, and Processing supports versions 2.X and up.  I understand the need for forward-compatibility,  so I won’t complain.  Most new phones run 2.0+ these days.  Rumor has it that the G2 is due out soon from T-Mobile…

After writing a simple “Hello, Android” app, I looked for a Java games engine and found the AndEngine project.

It’s open source and has some good, clear documentation, including this excellent 5-minute video that takes you from 0 to an app. Rock. Done.  The physics examples are great, too.  More to come…